OUTFIT POST: It's summer in the air.

Outfit details:
Skirt, shirt and sneakers - JENNYFER
Hat - ASOS
Glasses - MiuMiu

Summer is here and as much as I love my “black everything and anything” style, I have to shift to lighter options and lighter colors (Yes, for me grey is a light color). I am actually forced to do so, as it gets very hot in summer.

Wandering around in search of worthy items to renew my wardrobe for summer season I found myself in Jennyfer. You all remember this brand? Well if not, refresh your memory. It’s one of these young brands with a fun twist that offers you everything: From basic shirts to evening dresses. What I personally love about it is the French chic and elegance you feel in every piece with flowing light fabrics and bright colors.

Now you have to know something about me: I don’t wear skirts. Under any condition. But something clicked in my mind this time.

Entering their new shop in Beirut Souks, I was overwhelmed with lights and colors from the design of the store itself and pastel colors of their new collection. (I am still not brave enough to try it on myself, though I can envision it will look amazing with a good summer tan)

My choice fell on a simple shirt with a very non-standard cut (I love it so much that I actually wore it two days in a row), tight grey skirt and white sneakers. Practically everything I needed for a comfort walk in Horsh Beirut the other day.

If you are an independent and free spirit who values originality, has a sense of uniqueness and follows fashion trends religiously then this place is for you. And YOU should be joining us for the grand opening of JENNYFER in Beirut Souks this Saturday and Sunday.

Images were shot in Horsh Beirut, but I’ll speak about this magnificent place another time.

Introduction to Ethics for some Lebanese.

There are a lot of things in this country I enjoy, but there are also things I’d love to change or never hear about. Whenever people ask me what is the main difference between Russians (because that’s where I originally come from) and Lebanese, I always have the same answer: They mind their own business.

Don’t get me wrong - I love Lebanese people. But I also hate how some of them try to interfere in things, from family to friends, have outrageous personality traits and behavior. I listed a couple of things, with a rough translation from Arabic. (In Arabic it sounds even worse)

This one is my least favorite but the one I hear the most.

“Soooooooo… When are you getting married?”. What is this constant obsession with women getting married in this society? Is it the biggest aspiration in life? Is it the only goal anyone in their twenties should achieve? Screw career, personal development, experience. GET MARRIED. Because you know, you are already 20-something, your eggs are dying and hair is going to turn grey any second and wrinkles on your face are going to appear faster than mushrooms after the rain. 

I never knew my body needed a commentator.

Look, there is a fine line between complimenting someone “Wow, your body looks great!” and saying “You lost weight.” When a Lebanese comments on your weight loss, they look at you from head to toe and make this face of disgust as if you have a rat sitting on your head. And don’t get me started with weight gain comments. You should NEVER tell someone that they've gained weight, unless they ask you for your honest opinion or you are close family member or friend.
Weirdly enough, when you bump into someone you haven’t seen in a while, the conversation goes like this:
-       Hiiiiiiiii. I missed you! You gained/lost weight!
-       Hiiiiiiiii. And I hope I won’t see you again anytime soon.

  Diiiiiid you know?

Did I know if Laura recently got engaged? No. Did I know that Elsa decided to do a boob surgery? No. Did I know that Farah just went for masters in Amsterdam? No. Did I know that Nour’s parents are bankrupt? No. Did I know that Stephanie’s mom cheated on her dad? No.

We are all guilty of some occasional gossiping, but here it reaches an extreme level where people gossip about smallest things with a huge importance. They can even make “Diiiiiiid you know that she got a new car?” sound epic.

Do I want to discuss these things? Not really. Do I want to know these things? Not really. Do I even care? NO.

We've never met but I have your number.

Okay. What is it with guys thinking it is acceptable to steal/take someone’s number and call or Whatsapp them? Like how obnoxious do you have to be, to actually believe that a girl will reply to your “Hi. I like you. You don’t know me.”? Or maybe we will change our mind if you keep calling us multiple times after we politely asked you to leave us alone and hang up on your face? Because this is what we do, we sit whole day and hope and pray that some creep will illegally get access to our phone number and start harassing us.

Above everything and everyone. Superiority complex.

So they recently did this “adorable” “amazing” ad for Mother’s day in a Lebanese restaurant. (We all know which video I am talking about). The idea is that kids dressed up as waiters would like to serve their mothers on this day, as a sign of gratitude for all these years their mother spent taking care of them. Great idea. Very touching. There is only one tiny problem… I couldn’t help it but see how terribly we treat people who serve / take care of us in this country. It took them a couple of minutes to understand that its their child, for one simple reason: THEY DON’T EVEN LOOK AT THESE PEOPLE WHEN THEY ORDER. What? They are not worthy of you looking at them when talking to them? Is doing their job should be a privilege because they get to stand next to someone like you? Does it make them a “bad person” if they earn for their living because they did not inherit a bank account? Some of the greatest, nicest and most interesting people I’ve met in this country are these people, people who have exhausting job dealing with jerks like you on a daily basis.  

Where? What? When?

To make it easier for a Lebanese to accept someone based on their social status, there is a list of questions that you will hear from them eventually:
- Where do you live?
Please let me know if "Hopefully as far from you as possible" is an acceptable answer. I usually ask people where do they live only when I invite them somewhere, to make sure its not a big effort for them to come.
- What do you do?
An innocent question we all ask to know someone better or do a small talk. But not here, not in this country. Behind these 4 simple words there is a hidden agenda of "How can I use you?". 
- What is your religion?
Highly offensive question, especially for religious people. (I admit I asked some people this, but rather for personal interest to see cultural differentiation and understand better)

and last but not least... 
- How much do you make?


Beirut Series. The story of a very small and bullied city.

If you are an active follower of my blog, you might’ve already noticed by now that my posts are full of sarcasm, dark humor and often criticism towards the place I live in. 

Not a while ago, I’ve been doing what most of us do – carelessly surfing Instagram and ending up on pages of absolute strangers.  I’ve seen the ugly side of it – selfies, useless snaps and other trash you really don’t want to have on your timeline and the beautiful side of it – profiles where people have an eye for beautiful things. One of these profiles caught my attention. It was a Polish guy who currently lives in Berlin and takes pictures of various cities he goes to. After enjoying dozens of mesmerizing views that make me want to go and check these places immediately, I stopped for a moment and tried to remember if there are any Instagram accounts that are not overloaded with HDR images of the city I live in (except for LiveLoveLebanon) and I could not think of any! 

A lot of my friends back in Moscow have no idea how my new home looks like and something tells me they see it as a desert full of savages and camels.

People who know me also know that I don't have a car nor know how to drive. Why? I get this pleasure of walking around the city and picking new roads each day. All this time that you spend in traffic, I spend on enjoying views, whether it’s a highway, an abandoned street or clouds in the sky. I get to pause, capture a moment in my head and continue my life. Usually I would continue my walk without documenting it digitally, but exactly 2 weeks ago something changed. I felt the need to share images with the rest of the world.

This is how #BeirutSeries were born.

I’ve started this project as a side thing, with a thought that you don’t have to live in NewYork-London-Paris-Berlin-Barcelona-Milan to be inspired by the city and its architecture. Any city you live in can be beautiful and full of magic. You just need a right mindset to see it and embrace it. #BeirutSeries aim is to show people who can’t even locate Lebanon on the world map, how lovely it can be here.

I would like to tell everyone a story. A positive story of very underrated city in a very small country with beautiful people.

I hope you will find time to check #BeirutSeries on Instagram and maybe share your own stories and feelings about the city. And if you do - don't forget to share your feedback.

Lifehack: Where to find unforgettable gifts.

Throughout my whole life I always had trouble choosing gifts. Not because I don’t know what to get, but because I want it to be an outstanding, unusual and unique way of telling them: “I remember what you love and what you do”.
But what to do when a person has everything they need, but coming empty-handed will give you a guilt trip?

Let me introduce you to our new hero: Wonder.full box!
A new startup business that was recently launched in Beirut is here to save you from headaches and endless hours in stores.

Before starting the business, there was a whole year of preparations and travelling  through our beautiful country from south to north in order to discover and handpick the best experiences you can think of and here is the outcome: Wind-surfing classes, one-on-one private chocolate workshop, personal shopper, hike on the wild side of Lebanon and many other activities that will prove you that gifting experience brings much more memories and emotions than materialistic goodie.

You can find 4 types of experiences: Glamour, Adventure, Harmony and Gourmet.
Motorbike lessons? Check! Couture class on how to create a clutch? Check! Whisky masterclass? Check!
How it works: Whenever you have a gift to make, just follow your feeling and pick a box.  In each box there is a catalogue with a selection of 10 handpicked activities related to the theme. The lucky receiver has one full year to choose his or her favorite activity, and enjoy it to the fullest!

Wondering how this idea came to life, I had a small chat with Saria Hanna Moutran (lovely lady behind the brand) who explained why experience is the NEW and RIGHT thing to gift: It is a common belief that a material product will make us happier for a longer time because it remains with us forever. However, psychologists have proven that as soon as we adapt to something, it stops making us happy. Unlike material products, experiences become part of us, part of our story and our journey. They shape our identities and make us richer human beings. We live an experience with our five senses, we become part of it, therefore of the gift. Which makes it an unforgettable gift!”

Saria herself says that one of her most memorable gifts she ever received is also an adventure: “At the time I was in a long-distance relationship with my now-husband. He concocted a surprise weekend: We took a train, and then another smaller one. I discovered the most charming, authentic and pretty place on Earth! It is called Cassis, in South of France. It is very much known for its cliffs (calanques) that go right down into the Mediterranean. Good food, good wine… it is certainly an unforgettable gift!”

The “experience gift” is not a new thing for me. Where I come from the trend of these kinds of gifts started around 5 years ago. I personally never bought ready packages and was always found of finding all these instructors, workshops and classes myself. (But then again, I am this kind of person who never went to travel agencies and prefers to go through this headache herself).  But now that I started to appreciate my time a bit more and there are actually people who are ready to help me in this and did a great research, I am definitely putting my faith and trust in their experienced hands.

I am really hoping that it will receive the right amount of appreciation in Lebanon, because let’s be honest: gifting jewelry, items with a brand name on it, expensive alcohol - is an absolute cliché. Start making some effort people!

For those out there who love me and wonder what to get for my upcoming Birthday:


P.P.S. Just look how beautiful is their packaging!

Things people do or think but never talk about.

In a world where everyone is trying so hard to be cool and classy I find it necessary to remind everyone that at the end of the day we all secretly do things that are far from cool, not considered normal by society and usually cause judgement.

 “Not you again” or “UKH”
A phrase you’d usually think or say before picking up your phone when it rings. Or after a phone call. Or when someone texts you on Whatsapp. Or when someone comes to your house.
I do this even if its my friends, especially when its my family. Its a reflex and I cannot stop it.

“I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world…”
Perfectly know lyrics to a gayest song on the planet. Or any other song which has stupid lyrics and embarrassing to sing along to. But it becomes aaaaaabsolutely aaaalright if you are drunk. It's definitely not alright for people around you, especially if your voice is very, very, VERY far from being even slightly tolerable. Or if you are a group of few people, yelling "OH MY GOD ITS OUR SONG!!!" and squealing lyrics. 

Porn? What is that?
I don’t really have to write anything about this one, but almost everyone watches it and I’m sure even have a favorite genre. Don't forget that we all know where you've been and what (who?) you've done during your teenage years.

But if you are ballsy enough to admit that you watch porn, you will see a bunch of shocked faces and receive “Oh my… EW” kind of reactions.

There is something itching in my nose.
People do it in private. Stop being a diva, get over it and admit that your nose gets annoyingly dirty sometimes. When stuck in traffic, my favorite activity is to watch people on the parallel lane engaging themselves in this shameless activity, while truly believing that people stop seeing through glass windows. Seriously, if you take a shot every time you see someone picking their nose while driving, you might never reach your final destination.

I do this. I just use Kleenex instead of my finger.

Baby talk.
Baby-talk with your other half. Technically it’s very embarrassing, not even what you say but HOW you say it. In a very cheesy, sweet voice that makes even sugar junkies cringe. Have you noticed how majority of words we use when baby-talking usually start with a letter “B”? Boo, beeeeb, babooo, babes & etc. Don't you just hate these annoying, cheesy couples who are glued to each other and make some weird noises? Yeah, I hate myself too.

Aaaah yes, I totally remember that scene!
Pretending that we watched a specific movie or read a specific book, because we are too afraid to be judged or called loser for not doing so. Admit it. You did it at least once. At least when you were a teenager.
Well, I know some people who confess that they never watched “Harry Potter” and actually find these movies lame. Somehow, we are still friends.

Evil life hack: Once you feel that your friend "totally remembers that scene", just ask them what's this book or movie are about and enjoy it, while they are trying to get out of this awkward situation.

This one person you secretly don’t like but you actually know what is their favorite color, where do they hang out and what is the name of their cat. Technically we enjoy feeding on negative emotions when it comes to Social Media. The more feelings specific person triggers in us, the more we get addicted to checking their pages. Some sort of unhealthy hate therapy.

Don't you just love it when your stalkers accidentally like your tagged picture from 2013, posted on a page of you mother's best friend?

Blame it on my vision.

Not coming up to someone to say hi because you don’t feel like small-talk today. Timeless legit excuse: "My vision is bad, I am sorry I didn’t see you."
Usually after this you go back home and have -1 follower on Instagram. OH WHAT A LOSS.

Apparently "unfollow" is the new "we are not friends anymore".